Always Mother, Forever Friend

The Xu Women Portraits by Fen

“A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.” - Washington Irving

 

I love the bond that the girls in the Xu family have. Not only are the daughters, Cecil and Isable, the best of friends, their mother is also a part of that friendship. The bond between this mother and her two daughters and sweet and pure, and I simply couldn’t stop from capturing the moments they share. Their relationship is so inspiring, it makes us question the popular belief that mothers and daughters will never see eye-to-eye. I’m sure that while at some point in time they might have experienced conflict, it’s how they resolve it that makes all the difference. Today, the Xu Girls hang out together, go for a weekend getaway together, take trips around the world together… they do most everything together. Now isn’t that a beautiful thing to witness? I most certainly think so. 

 

Love,

Fen

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19 Feb 2016

Wonderful in Winter

Theo Portraits by Aveline

It was freezing that day of our scheduled photo session in Melbourne. The sky was grey and the wind seemed like it was on full power. For a moment, I hesitated to go on with the shoot because I was afraid that Theo wouldn’t have a very good time. However, after much consideration and discussion with his parents, we decided to go along with the plan. 

It took much less thoughts for Theo to be excited though, because upon seeing the park, he ran excitedly towards it. He picked up sticks and rolled on the grass without a care in the world. When his parents joined him, it was picture perfect and I had a wonderful time with this wonderful little family. 

Yes, Melbourne’s weather can be unpredictable, but I guess that when we trust our gut feeling and bring a happy heart, things can almost predictably turn out great. 

 

Here’s a short food for thought from Theo’s mom. I appreciate that she took the time to share her heart on this blog:

 

“Parenthood is not always an easy ride but definitely a very fulfilling one, especially when the little ones give you kisses all over your face and say the three magic words "I LOVE YOU" 

A friend once sent us this grateful prayer list that made me realize how easy it is to overlook the blessings in your life:

1. Waking up early = children to love 

2. House to clean = safe place to live

3. Bucketful of laundry = clothes to wear 

4. Piles of dirty dishes = food to eat

5. Crumbs under the table = family meal 

6. Grocery shopping = $ to provide for us

7. Toilets to clean = indoor plumbing 

8. Lots of noise = people in our lives

9. Endless questions about everything = kids' brains growing 

10. Sore & tired in bed = i'm still alive! 

Indeed, every part of our lives have been transformed with the presence of our little ones but we thank God for the miracle of kids and for giving us the opportunity to walk this journey together as Daddy and Mummy.”

 

I hope you have a wonderful day.

 

Ave

 

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14 Feb 2016

The Gift of Family

Jose & Hanna Carol’s Family Portraits by Ivan | Written by Hanna

“We can't choose the family into which we are born. We can't choose our fathers, our mothers or our siblings. But when we want to start our own family, we’ll have the chance to choose with whom we want to start the family with. We can only choose our spouses, but we can’t choose who our descendants will be.

There are people whom God has entrusted in our lives, for us to have and to hold; the people who are closest to us, whether we chose them or not, these are the people whom God has entrusted to us to honor and to love.

Family is God's gift that I value the most. My husband and children are the people who accept and love me as I am.

Mother Theresa once said that love begins in the family, love begins by the people closest to us at home. So, if we are talking about changing the world and making it a better place to live, we should start with the closest ones: our own family.”

 

Love,

 

Hanna

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23 Jan 2016

Love of Family

Helena’s Family Portraits by Vania

Just a few weeks before celebrating her seventeen birthday, Helena and her family had their family portraits taken in Bali and I had the chance to do that for them. Although I was slightly nervous at first, because it was the first session I had without any babies or toddlers, I felt much, much better after meeting the family. Everyone in Helena’s family were so friendly and kind that every jittery feeling I had instantly disappeared and I was left with a deep sense of calm and confidence. 

The few hours I spent with this wonderful family went by too quickly. Nevertheless, it was enough for me to get an impression that they are the perfect example of “the fruit never falls too far away from the tree.” I believe that every family has their own stories. During the short time I spent with them, in between their stories, I learned that the love of parents are their children’s greatest strength and unshakeable source of confidence. 

Helena’s friendly dad, who, by the way, is a natural in front of the camera, and her warm-hearted mother love Helena and her brother, John, so deeply. Their love for their children is bigger than their four hearts combined. Her father told me that while his daughter wanted a humble celebration for her seventeenth birthday, he insisted that she’ll only be turning seventeen once in her life and that it is as much a celebration for him and his wife as it is for her. No amount of money he has can ever be bigger than the love he has for his only daughter. Helena’s a very lucky girl, I thought. 

I am not a parent, but I am a daughter. And somehow, I believe that parents will always have their children at the top of their list of priorities in life. No matter how busy they will be and even despite the crazy things life will throw at them, their children will always be a great source of their joy. I truly believe that. Parents and their children have been chosen for each other by God to fit into each other’s lives perfectly. Respect your parents while you can and love them generously, because our parents will never think twice about loving us.

Thank you Helena, Oom, Tante and John, for letting me spend some time with you! I hope you like how these pictures turned out. 

 

Love,

Vania

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17 Jan 2016

Cuteness Overload

Gading & Gisela Family Portraits by Ave

If you saw Gempita - or Gempi as she is more affectionately known - in pictures and think that she is cute, you should see her in person! She is a thousand times cuter in person than what she appears to be on Instagram. Two hours with this and she gave me a toothache because she was so sweet! Before I met this family, I had a shoot with Baby Ry’s family. His mom, Sharena, always said that if she could pick out a wife for Ry now, it would be Gempi. And after meeting Gempi in person, I could see why. I mean, I actually wished I had a son for her to marry because she is so darn cute and I wanna make her mine! 

Alright, so what’s the point to all this? Probably nothing… because I simply just want to gush about the cuteness overload I experienced during the photoshoot with Gempi and her beautiful parents. They even brought their toy poodle, Chocolate (because it was brown, how fitting!) and both, their daughter and their dog, were very cooperative during the shoot. Like I said, cuteness overload. It was almost too much too handle but at the same time too addictive to not do again. 

Thank you, Gading and Gisela, for trusting me to capture your moments together as a family. I absolutely loved the experience.

 


Love,

Ave

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12 Dec 2015

A whole lot of love

Tan Family Portraits by Vania

I believe in family. I believe in its power to wrap us with warmth on a cold day, to cool us off on a scorching hot day, to encourage, to support, to be a place where we can find comfort, to be a safe haven whenever we need it, to be a space where we can be whoever we are and whatever we want to be. I believe that family makes a home. 

Like all relationships, family is never without any conflicts or challenges. Like all relationships that require openness, one needs to be transparent and brave enough to be vulnerable. In doing that we tear down the walls around our hearts and we allow ourselves to be hurt. But, in doing that also, we allow ourselves to grow, to prosper, and to find a home in each others’ hearts. 

Family is home, a place that no matter how rough it may be on the outside, it is always beautiful on the inside because we are certain that we are celebrated and encouraged to flourish there. That is what family means to me.

Everything I believe about family, every vision I have of it, took form at the sight of the Tan family. They are the perfect example of the family I have in mind. Although they may have their shares of fights and conflicts, in the end, they will always come back to each other. Their children are the pride of their parents and they are each others’ biggest supporters. 

It was a beautiful session with the Tan family. I was touched by the love they had for each other… genuine love - no disguises, no pretence, no meaningless words, just a whole lot of love. 

 

Love,

Vania

 

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08 Nov 2015

Lovely Family

Suwandi family portraits by Ave

 

To be completely honest with you, it’s never easy to take pictures of two or more people, especially when the ones other than the two, are active little toddlers. But to me, that’s where the challenge and the beauty lies. 

Aside from loving newborn or baby photo shoots, I also love toddlers. Somehow that statement always makes moms smirk. They probably think that it’s because I don’t have any of my own yet, or because I don’t spend any more time than I have to with them that I develop some sort of attraction and attachment to these little beings. But I don’t see it that way. I really think that they are the cutest little angels. They are so innocent and pure, without a single negative bone in their bodies. They cannot make things up and everything the do comes from the heart. That’s why I am always caught by surprise and amazed at how they respond to things. Their response is always so unexpected and pleasant to see. And I love having toddlers on my set. 

Family portraits sessions are a different thing. It’s when the toddlers have to share the spotlight with their parents. Now, the beauty about these sessions are no longer in the response in the toddlers themselves, but in the relationship the family has with each other. I can almost always feel at ease when I can feel the parents showing understanding to their toddlers and seeing how their toddler respond to that understanding. That is truly beautiful to watch. 

Suwandi and Catherine really know their children well. How they handle their two toddlers, Faith and Elliot, when they were cranky spoke volumes about their parenting skills. Thanks to them, I learned a whole lot about parenting. Because of them, Faith and Elliot became cooperative and super adorable to shoot. I simply can’t forget how fun the photo shoot was. When I am normally nervous about shooting for family portraits with more than one child, this time I felt completely at ease. Not only that, Suwandi and Catherine put their complete trust in me to deliver great work for them. I think that is what boosted my confidence. But you know what? The credit here should not be given to the photographer, because with a family this lovely, all I did was click. 

 

Love,

Ave

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11 Oct 2015

Rock 'n' Roll Love

Delon & Sharena Family Portraits by Ave

“Everyone has their own versions of happiness. This is ours.”

- Ryan Delon

 

I fell in love with this family right off the bat. Even before I had met them and I was just watching them on my Instagram feed (no stalker alert necessary!), I was already drawn to them. There’s something in the way Delon and Sharen look and talk to each other, something in their stories, some kind of unmistakable humbleness and undeniable chemistry, that just makes me feel all warm inside. And when their son, Ry, came into the picture, everything became even more perfect. 

Ry is the kind of boy who melts everyone’s hearts. I think he’s got the quality of the future soul-shaker. He’s got big eyes, a cool hairstyle and a cheeky smile, but that’s not what’s going to get the girls to line up… nuh-uh. That’s gotta be the sweet way he moves to his dad’s beats. That boy sure can dance! 

Taking some inspiration from how he moves and grooves to the beat of the drum, I threw the idea of a rock ’n’ roll theme for their family portrait session. Sharen loved it straight away. She told me that she was just about to dye her hair purple and that she’s planning Ry’s first birthday party at Hard Rock Cafe with the exact same theme and that it just feels like the universe lined everything up and that it was perfect! Now that’s exciting, wouldn’t you say? 

This rock ’n’ rolling family brought such a positive energy into our place. Rock ’n’ Roll suited them to a tee! They chose the perfect outfit and they had the perfect style… I don’t know a lot of people who can pull off the rock and roll get up, but this family… it was like their every day! 

It was truly a pleasure for me to have had the chance to spend some time with this family and to capture their moments. I think I enjoyed the day much more than they did. It really didn’t feel like work to me. In fact, it kind of felt like a real life lesson in parenting, because after getting to know them, I know exactly what I want my future family to be like. 

 

Thanks for spending the day with me. Rock on! 

 

Love,

Ave

 

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31 Aug 2015

Where Life Begins and Love Never Ends

Vina family portraits by Adi

I am no expert at family relationships just yet but here’s my two pennies worth. We’re living in such times where the notion of family has changed over the years. Never before have we seen so many marriages fail and consequently we see more children growing up in broken homes than ever before. Never before has it been so culturally unfriendly to be a family raising kids with strong convictions and boundaries. It’s kind of frightening to see that happening in my generation.

No, I am definitely not trying to judge here or lament on our world’s degenerating family state. I am here to point out that we have the power to create a new family legacy, one that’s founded in love. I am truly convinced that transformation begins with us and with our family. I am grateful to have grown up in an environment like the aforementioned, thanks to my parents. When I say family, I am not talking just about husband-wife relationships, but also parent-child, siblings and in laws relationships. I know we’ll always get irritated over the silliest of things caused by our flaws and clash of personalities. If you watch Modern Family, you’d know that given the chance, each member will change at least one thing about their family if they could. But blood is blood and it’s always thicker than water.

I remember growing up the term “family time” has taken a new meaning for us as my brother and I were away overseas most of our teenage years. We’d savor every moment we get to spend with our parents during our holidays; we treasure our times even when they forced uncomfortable conversations out of us over meals. We may not always agree with our parents but the bond we have with them speaks for itself and we’d take a bullet for them. Family for us is  a place where “we do love, we do grace, we do hugs and kisses, we say sorry, we do mistakes, we do fun, we do loud really well”. We won’t always that ideal family we wish for, instead we’ll have the chaotic, crazy, real, unique family we should be grateful for, accept and celebrate. And I am truly thankful for mine.

Whoaa! That was heavy. I don’t think I have ever spent so much time drowning myself in deep thoughts about family relationships before I was asked to write this blog. Anyways, recently we had our family portrait taken by one of the island’s best photographer, Adi. We had such a memorable session and he made it easy for us to be in front of his lens. It's always good when you're comfortable with your photographer. And of course kudos to our very own stylist, Dae for making us look good.
 
Have a great weekend and enjoy your family time!
 
XOXO,
Vina

 

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31 Mar 2015

Time Flies!

Baby Noelle & Baby Cassandra by Ave

We are nearing the end of March. We are on the third week of the third month in 2015. How did we get here so fast? It’s either we’re having a massive amount of fun that we don’t notice the days go by, or we’re just oblivious to everything that’s happened lately.   We hope that it’s because we’ve been too busy savoring the days that we forget about the time. And we hope that for you too.

One of the things that never fails to give us a wake up call like a punch in the face is to see our clients grow up. We are so fortunate to be invited to witness journeys where time is of the essence. From the time they were still inside their mothers’ bellies, to the week or month they first came into this world, and then to the time they celebrate their first years… we are honored to capture all their moments. In a way, we too have watched our little clients grow. And that always brings such warm feelings into our hearts. 

About a year ago, we had babies Noelle and Cassandra with their parents in our studio, to shoot their newborn portraits. They were two of the cutest, most adorable squishiest little babies I have ever laid eyes on. We had such a special time trying to capture some of their first moments with their Mom and Dad, taking so many pauses just to look at their cheeks and afraid to wake them up sometimes. Then time goes by and we didn’t hear from them until they visited our studio again for another set of portraits. This time they were walking. And babbling. And doing all kinds of big-girl things that made me think, “Wow, where did the time go? What have I been doing with my life?” That day, to me, was some kind of wake up call to consciously live everyday as if it were on purpose. And I hope that I can inspire you to do the same. 

On an entirely different note, how cute do you think these babies are? I think they are so sweet they give me a toothache just by looking at them! 

 

XOXO,

Ave

 

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22 Mar 2015
All the way to the bottom already?